Last weekend, a tragedy occurred in Yeovil, a village in south Somerset, England—someone truly evil snuck off with 88 pounds of prize-winning cheddar cheese, Reuters reports.
The theft occurred during the Yeovil agricultural show, an annual event that began in the 19th century and ended in the 1960s, only to be revived last year. According to Steven Morris at The Guardian, thieves stole two blocks of cheddar from the cheese pavilion on Saturday night, taking the suitcase-sized champion, Farmhouse Vintage and reserve champion, Vintage cheddars, both produced by Somerset-based Wyke Farms.
“They left all the other cheeses and just took ours,” Rich Clothier managing director of Wyke Farms tells Morris. “It’s disappointing. To win the champion and reserve was really nice for us. It took around a year-and-a-half to make thowse cheeses. They are among the best we have ever produced…These cheeses could be considered masterpieces; it’s a bit like having a valuable painting stolen. They were complex, like a fine bottle of wine.”
Reuters reports that Wyke is offering roughly a $580 (£500) reward for the return of the cheeses. If you think that seems like a lot for dairy products, you're whey undervaluing the worth of the blocks. “Such a quantity of prize-winning cheese would retail (at) between five hundred to six hundred pounds. But with their certificates, they could be worth thousands,” Clothier says, according to Reuters.
The BBC reports that the robbery wasn't the only cheese theft to stink up the event. Another cheese theft occurred at the show on Sunday, though the cloth-bound cheddar was anonymously returned by Tuesday. The Wyke Farms' cheeses, however, are still on the lam. “It’s such a mean thing to do,” says event director Sam Mackenzie-Green. “It’s a great disappointment and next year we will absolutely improve security by moving the cheeses to a secure unit overnight.”
James Wood at Somerset Live reported on Tuesday that police were still reviewing CCTV footage and investigating the theft. Clothier hopes the cheeses will be returned safely. He points out that though it is possible to freeze that massive amount of cheese, doing so could wreck its taste.
Since announcing the reward, Clothier has received several tips. “There has certainly been a lot of information come forward. A few people have even got in touch to say they’ve noticed their friends with extra-large cheese sandwiches of late,” he tells Wood.
This isn’t the first time that cheese has been at the center of a crime. In 2016, Wisconsin found itself in the news for three separate cheese thefts—including 20,000 pounds of cheese lifted from Oak Creek in June, 20,000-pound load of assorted cheeses taken from Germantown in January and a 41,000 pounds of parmesan lifted from Marshfield that same month.
The perpetrators for all three crimes are stilton the loose.